Racal-Scicon Ltd, confusingly a wholly-owned Racal company since December, despite the name, is looking at up to one billion pounds of business over 10 years from its victory over rival consortia Cable & Wireless with ICL and British Telecom with Computer Sciences Corp to win the Government Data Network contract (CI No 933) – and with all attention on Vodafone, the benefits of this contract have not really been recognised in its share price. The contract is to implement a packet switched network to be shared initially by the Home Office, Department of Health & Social Security, Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise, although other departments may be brought on line at a later date. The network will be based on Open Systems standards to allow interworking between different vendors’ kit. The government decided to approve the network on cost justification grounds: Over ten years, it would be significantly cheaper than the alternatives, even before taking account of the superior service and greater security offered by a GDN, said Peter Brooke, Paymaster General. Acceptance testing is scheduled to start before the end of the year using the Customs & Excise VAT Access and Local Input of Data system, with live operation planned for the beginning of 1989. The other original contenders were Plessey Co with CAP Group and Electronic Data Systems with Northern Telecom Ltd.
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